Things that Make us Happy…for 8.2.2014

You dear customers and the wide-world in general sure know how to make us happy. After sending such a grumpy email last Thursday, we have had a great week of things that make us smile. In no particular order…
178
:: Cool weather – this is an amazing July! We are soaking up morning time that requires long sleeves and involves chilly fingers.175
:: Sweet messages from customers about how much they love our produce. We even got an email with a photo of a lovely dish that one of you prepared with our veggies!122
:: Finding a children’s book that portrays a female farmer. This is no easy task. Kids’ books overwhelmingly have a male farmer character, and a supporting female farmer’s-wife character, who almost invariably is shown only cleaning or baking. These are important tasks, for sure, but a farmer’s wife (and a farmer’s husband) has a lot more nuance than we usually see, and this multi-functioning, female farmer in a kids book was refreshing. urbanite to farmer
:: This “Urbanite to Farmer in Ten Steps” article in a recent Food & Wine edition cracked us up. We won’t elaborate.
170
:: This Barn! It’s just beautiful, and we are starting to prepare to move activities into one section (electrical permit is in process!). We will be finishing off the inside areas in phases, according to priorities. Accordingly, we are in search of a few things. See our list of needed materials below.
tomato graft at origins
:: Visiting with farmer friends. We are participating in a tomato grafting research project, along with Origins Farm, through the Virginia Association for Biological Farming. Last night there was a field walk at Origins to look at results there thus far. It was wonderful to get to be on another farm, meet new friends, and talk tomato grafting. (Photo credit: the amazing Alistar Harris.)
177
Certified Naturally Grown Farm in search of:
:: Kitchen sink and/or faucet (one or two basin) ::Low-boy (small) electric hot water heater/tank ::Hot plate ::Large, metal shelving

 

This Week’s Harvest:
Our Farm Share Bag (consisting of a farmers’ choice medley of produce, in one easy to order option), Carrots, Chard, Cucumbers, Eggplant (a very few), Green Beans, Kale, Okra, Onions, Peppers (green bell, jalapeno, Sweet Lunchbox, sweet yellow, sweet red, padron), Scallions, Summer Squash, Tomatoes (slicing and cherry) …plus our Pepper Jelly, and our Naturally Leavened, Hearth Baked Bread.
AND – we have added Broadfork t-shirts and hoodies to the online ordering page. Limited quantities and sizes, but see if there is something there that works for you!
147 (this guy set up this Farm Food Truck this week, serving mud-pie versions of burgers, Brunswick stew, and blueberry pie.)

Enjoy ~

Janet, Dan, and the rest of the Broadfork Crew

Recipe Suggestions: (always cataloged on our Recipe Page)
Cheese Stuffed Peppers
Grilled Bread Salad with Sweet Peppers & Onions
Curried Chickpea and Carrot Salad
Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Carrot & Cucumber
Cucumber & Carrot Thai “Noodle” Salad (this involves making the veggies into “noodles” using a spiral slicer or a mandolin)

**

We continue at two farmers’ markets this Saturday: South of the James in Forest Hill Park, from 8am – 12pm, and the Brandermill Green Market in Market Square from 9am – 12pm. You may also purchase our produce and bread through Richmond’s online farmers’ market: Fall Line Farms or stop by our Self Serve Farm Stand. Details here.

2014 Market Share CSA Members: Choose your selection through our Online Ordering to order for pick up on Saturday at our farm, at the Brandermill Green Market , or at the South of the James Market in Forest Hill Park.

**

VABF Richmond Farm Tour
Richmond Biological Farm Tour Weekend: September 20 & 21, 2014

Shake the Hands that Feed You!
Saturday & Sunday, September 20 &
 21, 1 PM to 6 PM

We will be participating in this inaugural weekend of farm tours in the greater metro Richmond area. Load up your car with friends and family (one ticket covers everyone!) and head out for a day — or two — of meeting farmers and seeing where and how your food is grown. Learn more here and stay tuned for the complete list of farms on tour.

Farm Share & Mkt Share Ordering 7.30.2014

Farm Share Members: Our season has one “vacation week” of your choosing built in. If you have not yet notified us of when to put a hold on your share for a week, please do so as soon as you are able. Thanks!

Farm Share CSA Members – this week’s share will likely consist of:
Onions, Garlic, Jalapenos (a pair), carrots, Cherry Tomatoes, Slicing Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers, and…wait for it…a Watermelon!

Recipe Suggestions: (always cataloged on our Recipe Page)
Cheese Stuffed Peppers
Grilled Bread Salad with Sweet Peppers & Onions
Watermelon & Feta Salad (we are sorry we don’t have arugula right now..)
Spicy Watermelon Tomato Gazpacho (we are sorry we don’t have basil right now…)
Watermelon Mint Slushie
Curried Chickpea and Carrot Salad
Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Carrot & Cucumber
Cucumber & Carrot Thai “Noodle” Salad (this involves making the veggies into “noodles” using a spiral slicer or a mandolin)

Market Share CSA Members: Remember our Farm Stand is open every day. Choose your selection through our Online Ordering of the following harvest for pick up on Wednesday, July 30 (on farm, at Good Health Herbs, or at Central Montessori School in Church Hill):

Our Farm Share Bag (consisting of a farmers’ choice medley of produce, in one easy to order option), Carrots, Chard, Cucumbers, Eggplant (a few), Garlic, Green Beans, Kale, Okra, Onions, Peppers (green bell, lunchbox, yellow, sweet red, padron), Scallions, Summer Squash, Tomatoes (single pound or bulk), Watermelon …plus our Pepper Jelly, and our Naturally Leavened, Hearth Baked Bread.    

Enjoy ~
Janet, Dan, & the whole Broadfork Crew

July = Hump Day….for 7.26.2014

Or rather Hump Month. You know — like Wednesday is Hump Day of the Monday – Friday work week. It’s the middle. It’s the sign that we’re halfway to the weekend. Or, in this case, halfway to cooler weather and the slower part of the season. flower bouquet 2We really do love our work, but mid-July to mid-August is the hardest time of the year for us, and we tend to get grumpy. It’s hot. It’s dry, and often (it seems) a drought. (For two of our four years in business thus far we have been in drought status as of July. This morning’s rain is the first significant rain we have had in about seven weeks. Ouch.) rain chainWeeds really threaten to take over, and plants start to die. We are still maintaining the plants in the fields (and high tunnels) with a vengeance, and also seeding new trays of plants (for the fall) at full speed. Disease and pest management are at full tilt, and irrigation is such a challenge for us that it becomes a full time job in its own right (shall we advertise for a full time Irrigation Manager position??? Bless the person tasked with this impossible-seeming job. That person is currently Dan.) We hear of other farmers like us getting the duldrums in September, tired from a long and demanding season. But for us, September perks us back up. It’s cooler. Plants are healthier and less demanding. flower bouquet 3Thus, we really look forward to the end of July.   flowers tomatoes market booth See how grumpy we get? Thankfully, there are amazing CSA members and customers that tell us how much our food improves their lives. How much they enjoy visiting our CSA pick up area/farm stand to collect their veggies, and getting to see the rows of vegetables that help sustain their families. The amazing people that tell us how incredibly delicious our tomatoes are, thank us for the soapbox Janet stood on last week, and spread the word about our little farm to their family, friends, and neighbors….you sustain us through these dog-days of summer. Thank you. funky tomato signThank you for your support through our CSA, at market, and at our self-serve Farm Stand. Despite the drought, despite our grumps, and despite all the voices that say a tiny little organic farm like ours can’t serve a valuable role, and/or can’t survive financially, we are feeding really amazing food to an impressive number of people. And we will keep doing so through every challenging July, and all the other, easier months, too. soj marketAll pictures, like usual, are from this week. (The flowers certainly help brighten everyone’s mood!) The market booth above is from the South of the James market last week, featuring about a fourth of our harvest from last week.

This Week’s Harvest:
Our Farm Share Bag (consisting of a farmers’ choice medley of produce, in one easy to order option), Beets, Carrots, Chard, Cucumbers, (Sun)Flowers, Green Beans, Kale, Okra, Onions, Peppers (green bell, jalapeno, Sweet Lunchbox, sweet yellow, sweet red, padron), Lettuce Heads, Lettuce Mix (a bit!), Scallions, Summer Squash, Tomatoes (slicing and cherry, including BULK SPECIAL) …plus our Pepper Jelly, and our Naturally Leavened, Hearth Baked Bread.

Enjoy ~

Janet (and Dan and the rest of the Broadfork Crew, by proxy)

Recipe Suggestions: (always cataloged on our Recipe Page)
Glazed Carrots
Tuna Cucumber Rolls (these look so great – someone send us a photo if you make them!) (We have a very long cucumber variety coming into harvest, so this recipe becomes appropriate.)
Balsamic Roasted Beet Salad
A Collection of Tomato Pie Recipes
Herbed Goat Cheese Toast with Roasted Sweet Peppers
Tex Mex Bean, Sweet Pepper, and Peach Salad
Keep it Simple: Dice up our tomatoes, cukes, and sweet peppers with salt (and maybe also oil and vinegar) and serve over top of a protein of your choice (salmon, cheese, tofu, chicken….)

**

We continue at two farmers’ markets this Saturday: South of the James in Forest Hill Park, from 8am – 12pm, and the Brandermill Green Market in Market Square from 9am – 12pm. You may also purchase our produce and bread through Richmond’s online farmers’ market: Fall Line Farms or stop by our Self Serve Farm Stand. Details here.salsa tomato onion farm stand

2014 Market Share CSA Members: Choose your selection through our Online Ordering to order for pick up on Saturday at our farm, at the Brandermill Green Market , or at the South of the James Market in Forest Hill Park from.

Everyone else: Please sign up for our 2014 CSA and get first priority for the wonderful vegetables that we grow.

**

VABF Richmond Farm Tour
Richmond Biological Farm Tour Weekend: September 20 & 21, 2014

Shake the Hands that Feed You!
Saturday & Sunday, September 20 &
 21, 1 PM to 6 PM

We will be participating in this inaugural weekend of farm tours in the greater metro Richmond area. Load up your car with friends and family (one ticket covers everyone!) and head out for a day — or two — of meeting farmers and seeing where and how your food is grown. Learn more here and stay tuned for the complete list of farms on tour.

 

Farm Share & Mkt Share Ordering 7.23.2014

Farm Share Members: Our season has one “vacation week” of your choosing built in. If you have not yet notified us of when to put a hold on your share for a week, please do so as soon as you are able. Thanks!

Farm Share CSA Members – this week’s share will likely consist of:
Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Beets, Garlic, Sweet Peppers (multi-colored, No Spice!), Carrots, Summer Squash, a pair of Jalapenos, and Lettuce

Recipe Suggestions: (always cataloged on our Recipe Page)
Glazed Carrots
Tuna Cucumber Rolls (these look so great – someone send us a photo if you make them!) (We have a very long cucumber variety coming into harvest, so this recipe becomes appropriate.)
Balsamic Roasted Beet Salad
A Collection of Tomato Pie Recipes
Herbed Goat Cheese Toast with Roasted Sweet Peppers
Tex Mex Bean, Sweet Pepper, and Peach Salad
Keep it Simple: Dice up our tomatoes, cukes, and sweet peppers with salt (and maybe also oil and vinegar) and serve over top of a protein of your choice (salmon, cheese, tofu, chicken….)

Market Share CSA Members: Remember our Farm Stand is open every day Choose your selection through our Online Ordering of the following harvest for pick up on Wednesday, July 23 (on farm, at Good Health Herbs, or at Central Montessori School in Church Hill):

Our Farm Share Bag (consisting of a farmers’ choice medley of produce, in one easy to order option), Carrots, Cucumbers, Garlic, Green Beans, Kale, Okra, Onions, Peppers (green bell, lunchbox, yellow, padron), Scallions, Summer Squash, Tomatoes (slicing and cherry) …plus our Pepper Jelly, and our Naturally Leavened, Hearth Baked Bread.    

Enjoy ~
Janet, Dan, & the whole Broadfork Crew

Let’s Talk about Tomatoes…for 7.19.2014

Tomatoes. They are complicated. Varieties, planning for, disease management, transporting, selling…There’s a lot going on. cherry tomatoes

It’s Janet typing here today, so I’ll own up that these are my thoughts today. tomatoes onions farm stand

Tomatoes are important to us, because people tend to love to eat them. They are versatile, preserve well, and appear in the culinary culture of many groups. As a small commercial vegetable grower/market gardener, tomatoes tend to be an important crop for us, representing the potential for a significant percentage of our sales. We want to support our family through this business for many years to come, and so we pretty much need to grow tomatoes, and grow them well. Plus – they are delicious. Unless they are terrible. That is where it gets interesting.   DSC_0131  A great tasting tomato is a superb experience for an eater. A mealy, cardboard-like, or even just tasteless tomato is a disappointment. Obviously. And we hear from numerous people every year that they are sick of tasting bad tomatoes. We empathize. And we think our tomatoes are delicious. DSC_0142

However, the very most height of deliciousness for tomatoes usually comes from heirlooms. Funky shapes, funky colors, and very easily bruised or over-ripened. Fabulous flavor, but difficult to grow and difficult to transport. One of our most respected farming mentors says that heirloom tomatoes are meant to travel no further than from your backyard to your kitchen table. They are the least disease resistant of all tomatoes, and present compounded difficulties when one attempts to grow them on a larger scale (as in to then sell). Our first year in business we planted all heirloom tomato varieties. One may recall that our first year (2011) we then sold precisely zero tomatoes. They all died. The reasons are many, and we are better tomato growers now, but the point is we have to be smart about our situation and our role. We are much more suited to selling you heirloom tomato plants than the heirloom tomatoes themselves. We have to choose varieties of tomatoes that taste really good and also can be grown with realistic amounts of management using organic practices on our scale (1,400 tomato plants this year). tomato plants in field

Last week at market, I had a couple of gentlemen checking out the tomatoes on our market table. They were expressing their disappointment with local tomatoes of late, stating they just couldn’t find a good tasting tomato any more. Even the Hanover tomatoes these days tasted no good, they said. I pointed out to them (as we do many people) that a Hanover tomato is simply a tomato of any variety grown in the county of Hanover and therefore brings no special promises of taste or quality (in our humble opinion) and that we think our Chesterfield Tomatoes are quite wonderful.DSC_0139

I also gave them a condensed version of the points above, stating that we know the very best tasting tomatoes are quite disease prone and not ideal for commercial sale and that we therefore aim for a balance of great tasting tomatoes that can be grown for sale and also grow well under the organic management that we use. Here’s where it got story-worthy: One gentleman was very certain that our tomatoes were not the taste he was looking for, and seemed convinced that we had sacrificed taste for organic management. He told me he didn’t care about organic farming, and didn’t care if it took spraying the tomato plants with poison to get a good tasting tomato – he just wanted a good tasting tomato! tomatoes on market table

Now, there are all sorts of issues in this statement. tomato smiley face

I gently told this fellow that we cared greatly about the process that it took to raise a tomato, and that I was simply not okay with myself, family members, or farm crew workers spraying poison in pursuit of a decent tomato. I was also not okay with my children living on a farm that used this type of practice, nor was I okay with selling to our customers any tomatoes that were grown in this way. Nor did I believe that spraying poison was actually required to get a good tasting tomato, but that almost seemed beside the point at the moment. And, plus, he wasn’t listening to me anyway. He wandered off, disappointed with the market selection. I feel for him, and perhaps all I can wish him is good gardening, but I wanted him to stick around long enough for me to also tell him that we have had some customers admit to us this season that they have strayed from our booth and purchased tomatoes elsewhere (likely cheaper), only to return to ours because of flavor and quality. I can’t speak to how tomatoes around here (from Hanover or elsewhere) tasted 50 years ago. I am sensitive to that reality. But I know our reality, as a small, diversified, Certified Naturally Grown family farm working to provide high-quality vegetables for our community and support our family in the process. I know our standards and priorities and where we have to make compromises. We don’t buy into the false logic that poisons are required (or preferred?) for production of tomatoes that will make us and our customers happy. Thanks for being in agreement with us. DSC_0124

Enjoy this cool, July morning, and we look forward to providing you with some delicious veggies this weekend. We’ve got loads of great tomatoes. (And many thanks to the students of the St. Christopher’s Summer Institute on Leadership – pictured throughout – that joined us for a day of sweat and learning this week. We loved having you here!)farm stand

Special prices on bulk tomatoes for CSA members: $20 for a 10 pound flat. Reserve yours online or choose at our farm stand or market booth. (Farm stand, pictured above, remains open daily, except on Saturdays until 2 pm, while our veggies are at market.) DSC_0122

Certified Naturally Grown Farm In Search of:
::Paper grocery bags (for packing our orders in)

This Week’s Harvest:
Our Farm Share Bag (consisting of a farmers’ choice medley of produce, in one easy to order option), Beets, Carrots, Cucumbers, (Sun)Flowers, Green Beans, Kale, Okra, Onions, Peppers (green bell, jalapeno, and Sweet Lunchbox), Salad Mix (a bit!), Scallions, Summer Squash, Tomatoes (slicing, salad, yellow, and cherry) …plus our Pepper Jelly, and our Naturally Leavened, Hearth Baked Bread.

Enjoy ~

Janet (and Dan and the rest of the Broadfork Crew, by proxy)

Recipe Suggestions: (always cataloged on our Recipe Page)
Shrimp, Kale, & Quinoa Salad
Recipes for Canning Tomatoes: Herbed Tomatoes, Crushed Tomatoes, Italian Style Tomato Sauce, Fresh Salsa
Stuffed Sweet Peppers (sub protein of your choice)
Zippy Cucumber Salad
Summer Squash Fries (oven baked)

**

We continue at two farmers’ markets this Saturday: South of the James in Forest Hill Park, from 8am – 12pm, and the Brandermill Green Market in Market Square from 9am – 12pm. You may also purchase our produce and bread through Richmond’s online farmers’ market: Fall Line Farms or stop by our Self Serve Farm Stand. Details here.

2014 Market Share CSA Members: Choose your selection through our Online Ordering to order for pick up on Saturday at our farm, at the Brandermill Green Market , or at the South of the James Market in Forest Hill Park from.

Everyone else: Please sign up for our 2014 CSA and get first priority for the wonderful vegetables that we grow.

**

VABF Richmond Farm Tour
Richmond Biological Farm Tour Weekend: September 20 & 21, 2014

Shake the Hands that Feed You!
Saturday & Sunday, September 20 &
 21, 1 PM to 6 PM

We will be participating in this inaugural weekend of farm tours in the greater metro Richmond area. Load up your car with friends and family (one ticket covers everyone!) and head out for a day — or two — of meeting farmers and seeing where and how your food is grown. Learn more here and stay tuned for the complete list of farms on tour.

Farm Share & Mkt Share Ordering 7.16.2014

Farm Share Members: Our season has one “vacation week” of your choosing built in. If you have not yet notified us of when to put a hold on your share for a week, please do so as soon as you are able. Thanks!

Farm Share CSA Members – this week’s share will likely consist of:
Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Onions, Garlic, Sweet Peppers (multi-colored, No Spice!), Carrots, Summer Squash, a pair of Jalapenos, and perhaps some Kale

Recipe Suggestions: (always cataloged on our Recipe Page)
Shrimp, Kale, & Quinoa Salad
Recipes for Canning Tomatoes: Herbed Tomatoes, Crushed Tomatoes, Italian Style Tomato Sauce, Fresh Salsa
Stuffed Sweet Peppers (sub protein of your choice)
Zippy Cucumber Salad
Summer Squash Fries (oven baked)

**

Market Share CSA Members: Remember our Farm Stand is open every day Choose your selection through our Online Ordering of the following harvest for pick up on Wednesday, July 16 (on farm, at Good Health Herbs, or at Central Montessori School in Church Hill):

Our Farm Share Bag (consisting of a farmers’ choice medley of produce, in one easy to order option), Carrots, Cucumbers, Eggplant (a few), Flowers, Garlic, Green Beans, Kale, Okra, Onions, Peppers (green bell, lunchbox), Scallions, Summer Squash, Tomatoes (slicing and cherry) …plus our Pepper Jelly, and our Naturally Leavened, Hearth Baked Bread.    

Enjoy ~
Janet, Dan, & the whole Broadfork Crew

Tomatoes and Rain…for 7.12.2014

 

 

farm stand jelly cherry tomatoes onions 2014-07

Today there is finally a nice drizzle. We have had less than 1/2 inch of rain in the past 6 weeks, and these plants are thirsty. The ground is crunchy. No good. Keep up the vibes for some nice, gentle rain for a little while. yellow tomato open

Our self-serve Farm Stand continues to be open daily (except on Saturdays until about 2 pm when our vegetables are at market.) If it’s raining, we have to get creative to protect the scale, sign, etc. But a visit is worth it, and every day our barn is one day closer to completion! A new, weatherproof, and much more spacious farm stand/CSA pick up area will have a nice home in the barn. DSC_0110

A sampling of this week’s produce: farm share 2014-07-09

The small, multicolored peppers are called Lunchbox Peppers. A lunchbox isn’t required to enjoy them, and they are super sweet, with zero spice. Think pepper candy. farm stand kale lunchbox peppers yellow tomatoes 2014-07-05

Last week we had a miniature barn (wall) raising:DSC_0101

Rafters are going up this week, and we’ll have a dried-in structure pretty soon. DSC_0095

We really need a place to dry onions and garlic. The second floor of the barn is largely to provide that space. With that not complete yet, we have gone ahead and laid out the onions in the downstairs part. Our poor construction guys have to work around them. So it goes, with a construction project in the middle of a working farm. DSC_0112

Meanwhile, it’s time to run amongst the veggies…and eat ‘em up. 2014-06-28_18.11.42[1] DSC_0106 DSC_0107 Special prices on bulk tomatoes for CSA members: $20 for a 10 pound flat. Reserve yours online or choose at our farm stand or market booth.

Certified Naturally Grown Farm In Search of:
::Cloth diapers (inserts and/or covers) ::Paper grocery bags (for packing our orders in)

This Week’s Harvest:
Our Farm Share Bag (consisting of a farmers’ choice medley of produce, in one easy to order option), Beets, Carrots, Collards, Cucumbers, Eggplant (a few), (Sun)Flowers, Green Beans, Kale, Okra, Onions, Peppers (green bell, jalapeno, and Sweet Lunchbox), Scallions, Summer Squash, Tomatoes (slicing, salad, yellow, and cherry) …plus our Pepper Jelly, and our Naturally Leavened, Hearth Baked Bread.

Enjoy ~

Janet, Dan, and the whole Broadfork Crew

Recipe Suggestions: (always cataloged on our Recipe Page)
Cold Tomato Pepper Soup (Use our peppers in place of the Bell peppers it calls for. If you resist eating the amazing little Lunchbox peppers straight and raw.)
Everything Salsa Recipe – using tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic (if you add garlic and skip the jalapeno). Add cucumber for crunch and flavor.
Tomato Pie (sorry we don’t have basil this week for you – but in case it’s left in your fridge from last week, use it here!)
Carrot & Green Bean Salad – ignore the radishes it calls for. They are out of season here!
Spicy Sesame Noodle, Green Bean, and Carrot Salad
Herbed Summer Squash and Potato Torte with Parmesan (sorry we don’t have any potatoes for you…they all rotted in the ground after planting them during an especially rainy spell this spring. Alas, please seek some out from our farm peers and friends that are also Certified Naturally Grown/Certified Organic.)

**

We continue at two farmers’ markets this Saturday: South of the James in Forest Hill Park, from 8am – 12pm, and the Brandermill Green Market in Market Square from 9am – 12pm. You may also purchase our produce and bread through Richmond’s online farmers’ market: Fall Line Farms or stop by our Self Serve Farm Stand. Details here.

2014 Market Share CSA Members: Choose your selection through our Online Ordering to order for pick up on Saturday at our farm, at the Brandermill Green Market , or at the South of the James Market in Forest Hill Park from.

Everyone else: Please sign up for our 2014 CSA and get first priority for the wonderful vegetables that we grow.

**

VABF Richmond Farm Tour
Richmond Biological Farm Tour Weekend: September 20 & 21, 2014

Shake the Hands that Feed You!
Saturday & Sunday, September 20 &
 21, 1 PM to 6 PM

We will be participating in this inaugural weekend of farm tours in the greater metro Richmond area. Load up your car with friends and family (one ticket covers everyone!) and head out for a day — or two — of meeting farmers and seeing where and how your food is grown. Learn more here and stay tuned for the complete list of farms on tour.